2016 - Year in Review Saskatoon search and Rescue

At Saskatoon Search and Rescue, we bring hope to families and save lives by assisting our agencies of jurisdiction in search and rescue missions.

In 2016 we had . . .

32 professional volunteers who were on call 24/7

and utilized in 19 incidents involving 22 missing persons.

This is a new record high and included 17 activations and two standby requests for missing persons.

Ten activations were from the Saskatoon Police Service, six from the RCMP and one from Parks Canada.

The RCMP put us on standby in two incidents.

Members spent 640 hours searching and 84 hours on standby.

We are unpaid professional volunteers!

These incidents involved a wide range of activities and people – hikers, a mushroom picker, very young children, persons both young and elderly with mental and/or physical health concerns, and involved both criminal and non-criminal matters. Our members travelled throughout the province as far north as Big Sandy Lake and south to Duncairn.

At Saskatoon Search and Rescue, we hold ourselves to a high standard and provide search and rescue training to command and search management, team leaders, basic searchers and new volunteers.

In 2016 we spent . . .

over 1,700 hours

training, and training, and training

for things we hope will never happen.

This dedication means that when a loved one goes missing, our professional volunteers are there to assist our agencies of jurisdiction and help locate that missing person.

2016 saw the finalization of the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) core competency and curriculum standards for ground search and rescue operations across Canada.

Our Training Committee planned and organized our training days to meet and exceed these standards.

Many other training opportunities were also provided to our members. Of note:

  • Two multi-jurisdictional search exercises involving SAR teams from across the province, RCMP, CASARA (Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association) and SARDAA (Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta).
  • Annual SARscene conference
  • A two-day SAR workshop in Saskatoon hosted by SARVAC and SARSAV. Two SSAR members provided valuable presentations at this event.
  • Hands-on experience with STARS landing zone training.
  • AdventureSmart presenter training.
  • Master Trainer Communications Course – including two SSAR members instructing the course.
  • Search dog seminars
  • Various ICS (Incident Command System) and emergency management training courses hosted by Saskatoon Emergency Measures Organization
  • Members instructed training to other teams in the province, at the Basic Searcher level and AdventureSmart presenter training.
  • We have started training with the Saskatoon Police Service Air Support Unit to maximize our search potential and capabilities.

Each opportunity to develop our skills increases our team’s capacity for the next call for assistance. We are very excited to see our members grow and strengthen their skills and knowledge.

At Saskatoon Search and Rescue, we acquire, operate and maintain a mobile command post and equipment inventory to provide search, rescue and support services during emergency or disaster situations.

In 2016 we . . .

further increased our emergency communications capacity and improved searcher safety with GPS enabled radios and KAS-10 software that tracks current position in real time. In addition, we now have multiple mast systems, a repeater and base station radios that allow for multiple set-up scenarios and increased range of communications.

Thanks to a New Initiatives Fund grant received by SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat for some of this new equipment. Thanks to Prairie Mobile Communications for their expertise and assistance in this area.

A small logistics trailer was purchased for equipment storage/transportation, and serves as a remote communications trailer with mast and repeater.

With these acquisitions, and the purchase of AEDs, rescue litter and mule wheel in progress, we will increase our first aid and rescue capabilities.

Team jackets (which are also due to arrive any day now) will help us look like the professional team we are!

Training, equipment and operational costs were funded by donations, in-kind contributions and honorariums from very generous individuals, organizations and businesses.

  • Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation
  • Prairieland Park (from unclaimed 50/50 money)
  • BMO Financial
  • Agrium Potash Mine (employee donations program)
  • Alpine Club of Canada, Saskatchewan Section
  • Lardner’s Trailer Sales provides our annual trailer maintenance
  • Honorariums are provided for setup/takedown at the Rotary’s Ribfest and Lobsterfest events and first aid duties at events such as Meewasin Skate Parties hosted by Cameco and PotashCorp, Ebon Stables horse shows, FoamFest and Insane Inflatable.
  • Charitable contributions from individuals including several from our own members and their families.

A huge THANK YOU to all those who support our fundraising efforts!

At Saskatoon Search and Rescue, we are active in the community and advance education by providing displays at public events and leading preventative search and rescue presentations.

In 2016 we . . .

helped the Meewasin Valley Authority keep Saskatoon beautiful

and supported runners in the Saskatoon Police Service Foundation Half Marathon.

We promoted National Emergency Preparedness Week and Provincial Missing Persons Week and our website, Facebook and Twitter pages provide additional preventative search and rescue information.

We did 20 AdventureSmart presentations (“Survive Outside” and “Hug-a-Tree and Survive”) for various youth and school groups, and during the Nature City Festival.

Displays were set up at the at the Saskatoon Police Service Community Barbecue, the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Cabela’s Hometown Heroes Days and Gone Wild for Wildlife.

At Saskatoon Search and Rescue, we undertake many other activities to achieve and exceed our goals.

In addition to the time spent training and on activations, SSAR members spent in excess of 1700 administrative (and volunteer!) hours ensuring the smooth operation of our organization. This includes fundraising activities, maintaining equipment, executive and committee meetings, developing risk management strategies, and much more. In total, our members volunteered more than 4,100 hours in 2016!

Public awareness and promotion of our organization is vital to fundraising, recruiting and fulfilling our mandate of preventative search and rescue education. To this end we were provided with several opportunities this year to get our message out.

CTV Saskatoon graciously produced two public service announcements (30 seconds and 60 seconds) which have been airing regularly. Have you seen them?

We had fun with the CTV Morning Live team demonstrating some of our activities.

And Global Morning News invited us to talk about who we are and what we do.


The growth in the capabilities of our team in 2016 has been immense.

We could not have accomplished all that we did without the incredible support we get from the community, our agencies of jurisdiction and the dedication of our members.

Most importantly, we could not have done this without our families, the true unsung heroes, whose understanding and support allows each of us to contribute the time that we do to our team.

Thank you everyone for a wonderful year behind us and we look forward to the New Year!

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